Developmental projects are an essential component of economic development and progress of a country.
To prevent adverse impacts of developmental projects and programmes an environment, Environmental Impact Assessment or EIA is carried out before the implementation.
While development is important, more important is environmental protection so that there is sustainable development and the environmental resources remain available to future generations.
The portion of the earth which sustains life is called biosphere. Biosphere is very huge and cannot be studied as a single entity. It is divided into many distinct functional units called ecosystem.
Components of an ecosystem
They are broadly grouped into:- (a) Abiotic and (b) Biotic components.
It is the scientific study of the processes influencing the distribution and abundance of organisms, the interactions among organisms, and the interactions between organisms and the transformation and flux of energy and matter.
The term ecology was first coined in 1869 by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel. It has been derived from two Greek words, ‘oikos’, meaning home or estate and ‘logos’ meaning study. The emphasis is on relationships between organisms and the components of the environment namely abiotic (non-living) and biotic (living).
- Environment is derived from the French word Environner, which means to encircle or surround. All the biological and non-biological entities surrounding us are included in environment.
- The flora, fauna and micro-organisms as well as the man- made structures in our surroundings have a bi-directional interaction with us directly or indirectly. The totality of all these components and their interactions constitute the environment.
After independence,the Government of India is aware that agricultural development in India could be achieved only with the reform of India’s rural institutional structure. It was said that the extent of the utilisation of agricultural resources would be determined by the institutional framework under which the various inputs were put to use. Land reform, a purposive change in the way in which agricultural land is held or owned, the methods of cultivation that are employed, or the relation of agriculture to the rest of the economy.
Rice is India’s staple food. Next to China, India is a leading producer of rice in the world. Certain geographical conditions are required like clayey soil, and standing water during growth. Temperature to be uniformly high (above 25°C) and rainfall between 100 to 200 cm is needed. It is a kharif crop.
Rice cultivation is concentrated mainly in the Northern plains which have alluvial soils and adequate water supply. West Bengal is the leading producer of rice.
The rapid growth of population and urbanization tend towards generating huge amount of waste. As per research, an average of 32,000 people will be added to urban India every day, continuously till 2021. This number is a warning, considering how India’s waste management infrastructure will be able to dispose waste in environment friendly manner. Rate of increase in access to sanitation infrastructure generally lags behind the rate of urbanization by 33% around the world. The lack of planning and improper responses to waste management issues observed in India, which indicates that it would become a major issue of concern in coming years. This means urban Indians will have to wait longer than an average urban citizen of our world for access to proper waste management infrastructure.
The attitude of late response and response at emergency only is unfortunate because it indicates a lack of or failed effort from the sector to change policy, and also the level of India’s planning and preparedness. It is well known among the small but growing waste management sector that urban India will hit rock bottom due to improper waste management.
The clear trend in the outbreak of epidemic and public protests around India is that they are happening in the biggest cities in their respective regions. Kolkata, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Srinagar are capitals of their respective states, and Coimbatore,the second largest city in Tamil Nadu and Vijaywada. However, long term national level plans to improve waste management in India do not exist and guidance offered to urban local bodies is meagre. The most important thing is that they work closely with the community by increasing clarity and transparency.
Due to lack of existing alternatives, other than diverting waste fractionally by increasing informal recycling sector’s role, closing existing landfills would mean finding new sites. Finding new landfills in and around cities is nearly impossible because of the track record of dumpsite operations and maintenance in India and the Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) phenomenon. Municipal officials stressed the issue of scarcity of land for waste disposal, which led to overflowing dumpsites and waste treatment facilities receiving more waste than what they were designed for. Despite their inability to properly manage wastes, the majority of municipal officials consider waste as “wealth” when approached by private partners and use technology.
In the short term, municipal corporations have their hands tied and will not be able to deliver solutions immediately. In spite of the mounting pressure, most corporations will not be able to close the dumpsites that they are currently using. They face the task of realizing waste management facilities rather than disposing it safely. The example of bad image of municipalities can be assumed with this-officials of Hyderabad’s municipal corporation have been conducting interviews with locals for about eight years now for a new landfill site but no one avail. Residents near Vellore protested and blocked roads leading to the dump site because Coimbatore municipal officials repeatedly failed to fulfill their promises. It is important that bureaucrats, municipal officials and politicians should be clear about it.
Apart from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM), there has been no national level effort to address the problem. Even though JNURM was phenomenal in stimulating the industry and local governments, it was not enough to address the scale and extent of the problem. Swacch Bharat Mission can be said as a program to deal with this problem, but it is mainly concerned with awareness and primary level of this problem. Proper remedy of this problem will come by including major govt. and private sector firms like-Railway, SAIL, ONGC, Reliance, Wipro and non government organizations at local level also. There must be a national level agency with its chapter at state, district & sub-division or Panchayat to tackle this problem with scientific support and technique. The most efficient measure in addressing India’s waste management problem will be the changes at the national policy, planning level and people’s participation.
Author: Amit Jha